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.

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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.

Monday 1 July 2019

Jaun Elia A Marxist: Master Poet of loneliness and frenzy.

Tum jab aogi to khoya hua paogi mujhe,
Meri tanhayion me khwabon ke siva aur kuch bhi nahin,

Mere kamre ko sajaane ki badi tamanna hai tumhe,
Mere kamre me kitabon k siva aur kuch bhi nahin.
(Jaun Elia)
The renowned poet, biographer and Scholar Jaun Elia died in Karachi, on Nov 8, 2002 after a long illness in a friend’s house. He died away from all his friends and relatives. Jaun Elia’s real name was Syed Jaun Asghar.

Jaun Elia, the renowned poet, biographer Scholar and a Marxist poet, philosopher, dreamer, and charismatic performer was born in 1931 in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh Pradesh of undivided India.He was the youngest of his siblings.

Rais Amrohvi was his elder brother. His father, Shafiq Hasan Elia, worked in art and literature. Shafiq was also an astrologer and a poet. Indian film director Kamal Amrohi was his first cousin.
His real name was Syed Jaun Asghar Jaun Elia.He wrote hard, loved hard, played hard, drank hard, and pranked hardest. His real name was Syed Jaun Asghar. Jaun Elia had very communist views. 

He was against partition, but finally chose to join Pakistan. He transpired in Pakistan in 1957 and chose Karachi as the residing city.

During the past few years, Jaun Elia has taken Urdu poetry circles in cyberspace by storm. A well-known name among fanatics of Urdu literature during his lifetime, it is only after his death in 2002 that his work gained popularity.

Today, Jaun Elia is perhaps one of the most googled Urdu poets. Moreover, his face adorns merchandise that is sold at upmarket stores in Delhi and at various literary festivals.
Facebook pages which share Elia’s poetry have lakhs of followers. People read his poetry in specially organised literary gatherings. Writers write about his poetry.

Still, for some strange reason, everybody has overlooked the important fact that Elia was a Marxist poet whose poetry was highly influenced by communist ideals.

His poetry is still inspiring the thoughts of the masses especially the young community. Elia influenced the youth community as a whole.
Jaun Elia received many awards for his dedication towards the Urdu literature but the most noteworthy and remarkable award given to Jaun Elia was the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance given by the Government of Pakistan in 2000 due to his unalarmed and determined efforts and services for Urdu Literature.

Elia’s divorce with Zaheda Hina in the 80s left him worse off. He became an alcoholic and even more depressed and alone. More than often this reflects very palpably in his poetry.

Darkness was Jaun’s life, a kind of sheath covering him. He was bound to loneliness and misery, because of his own contradictions. Even his negative space was only just grey.

After the divorce, Jaun Elia was living in depression this devadas of Urdu poetry started exploring new excuses to make a lot of hurdles and to ruin themselves.

If Jaun had not died a natural death in 2002, he would have been shot by a mob of crazy extremists of today. His murderers would have been both Sunnis and Shias.

The lines are getting blurred. Jaun was a product of a society that believed in reasoning. Today, in Pakistan you can’t reason with people. It’s blasphemous.

This write-up has been compiled and edited with the help of various articles over Jaun Elia, available on net, with thanks.

The End