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Monthly Archive: April 2020

Courage To Dissent ,Rosa Parks ,Podcast Serial Episode 20

Narration by: Shariq Ali
April 26, 2020
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Story of a girl who refused to give up her bus seat and invigorated the struggle for racial equality

 

 

One cold evening on December 1st, 1955, city of Montgomery, the US state of Alabama. She sat on the bus seat, tired of returning from work all day. A white man got on the bus. The driver told her to leave the seat. Racial segregation was no stranger for her. Her city has separated white and blacks’ churches and shops. She was also familiar with burnt houses of the blacks by white racists. But at that moment, she decided to follow the core belief in her heart that all humans are equal. She refused to leave the seat, and the bus driver called the police. They arrested her first for violating the law and then fined her. Instead of paying a fine, she filed an appeal to the High Court to repeal this inhuman law. And so, began the Montgomery bus boycott of American history. The story of Grandpa kept us indifferent to the scenic view from the van window. We were in the middle of our journey to Phoolbun from Nairangabad. Uncle Patel on the driving seat and me and Yani Apa on the rear seats were so involved in this story and listening. I was very happy. Next two weeks would be a golden opportunity to take Yani Apa around to my favourite places in Phoolbun. Grandpa continued. Rosa Park`s courage to dissent gave a lot of encouragement to the black leaders across the United States. They became united for the bus boycott. Martin Luther King Jr. became their leader. It was a difficult state of affairs. Most black Americans were not car owners. The strike meant walking miles to work. But they were all determined and united. The protest continued for three hundred and sixty-one days. Finally, the Supreme Court repealed the Alabama discrimination law. The decision further compounded the difficulties. Rosa and other leaders received threats. Bomb blasts blew up many houses of black leaders. This included Martin Luther King Jr. home as well. Uncle completed a difficult turn on the road and said. Martin Luther King, who is a well-known human rights activist, is one of the best orators of modern times. He did his famous speech, “I have a dream”, in front of two hundred and fifty thousand people in Washington in 1963. It still has the power to enthuse and motivate listeners. He is the most powerful voice, the most passionate thinker of present history. This Atlanta Georgia Nobel laureate and a great leader of the non-violent movement for human rights was assassinated at Memphis in 1968… To be continued
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Oracle OF Melody Tansen, Grandpa & Me ,Podcast Serial Episode 19

Narration by: Shariq Ali
April 21, 2020
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Story of the father of classical music of Northern India and Pakistan

 

 

Returning home from the musical evening quite late at night. We agreed to stop over to Yani Apa’s favourite restaurant by the river. Our table was in the balcony and we were enjoying the dancing waves of the river in the moonlight. On my request, Yani Apa sang the famous Nayara Noor song. It’s raining in the veranda, and I am dreaming about you. I, Grandpa and Uncle was so impressed with her singing ability. Seeing a piece of cloud coming over, I teased Yani Apa. Look at this sign of raining due to the magic of your melody of rain. Everyone smiled. Grandpa said. Rain after Maigh Malhar and forest fire after Deepak Raag is mythical stories of Tansen. He is the founder of the classical music of northern India. He was born in Gwalior in 1506 and died in 1589. While holding the cup and enjoying her tea, Yani Apa said. He belonged to the court of Rama Chandra. He was then presented as a gift and became the courtier of the Moghul King Akbar the great. He fell in love with Akbar’s daughter Mehrunnisa and accepted Islam as his new religion. He was a devout follower of Hazrat Ghos. Akbar included him amongst nine of his eminent courtiers. Akbar liked him as his son-in-law and a great singer and gave him the title of Mian Tansen. He was a brilliant pupil of his teacher, Shri Haridas. Uncle picked up a biscuit from the plate and said. He composed and invented many melodies. Amongst these Bahirvan, Darbari, Malhar, Sarang and Rajesuri are more famous. He was a Sufi singer. Many believe that his death was due to an uncontrolled fire erupted from Deepak Raag (melody of fire). His grave is very close to the shrine of Hazrat Ghaus in Gwalior. Nearby is an old tamarind tree. As old as the shrine. It is a common believe that chewing its leaves is going to enhance singing ability. Grandpa said. Akbar once said to Tansen. You are the best singer in the world. He said to the king. There is only one singer in the world who sings better than I do. Akbar ordered to present this person in his court. Tansen explained that this artist does not attend the Royal court. To listen to his singing, we must go in person to his place. Akbar agreed. After a long journey, it was already late at night. Tansen said. He must be asleep by now. This is not the right time to go to his place. The next morning, Akbar was still in bed at the royal pavilion, his eyes open with a melodious song. He remained enthralled. This singer was even more melodious than Tansen. Tansen said to Akbar. This is my teacher Shri Haridas. I have learned all his knowledge and skills. But there is only one difference between me and him. Akbar asked. And what is that? Tansen replied. I sing to please the King of India, and he sings to praise the King of the universe, the almighty God…… To be continued
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Parade Of Flower sellers. Grandpa & Me. Podcast Serial Episode 18.

Narration by: Shariq Ali
April 20, 2020
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Hindu Muslim harmony in India is vanishing fast because of the fascist current regime. This was not the case always

 

 

We came out of the movie theatre late at night and with a heavy heart. A painful flashback of the scene when a Maulvi kidnaps a minor Hindu girl and forcibly convert her religion and marry her. Or when on the other side of the border, some Hindus stab a Muslim on suspicion of eating cow’s meat. I had a night full of nightmares. Next morning when I arrived at the breakfast table, everyone was already there. When the last night film came under discussion, Grandpa said. The barrier of hatred protects the interests of the rulers and torment the common people. Religious hatred first damage the economy and then countries are fragmented. A shiny example of religious tolerance is a Hindu-Muslim festival in Mehrauli, Delhi, called Parade of the flower sellers. Tell us about this festival, please. I said. Grandpa said. In every monsoon, Hindu Muslim florists celebrate this historic festival as a symbol of harmony. When the British Raj appointed Bahadur Shah Zafar as royal Mughal representative, his half-brother Mirza Jahangir got furious and fired at the Resident Bahadur. The bullet was ineffective, but Mirza Jahangir was imprisoned in Allahabad jail. Mirza’s mother prayed and promised to God that if her son is freed, she will walk barefoot from the shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya to the shrine of Bakhtiyar Kaki in gratitude. Her prayers got accepted, and she did exactly what she promised. This festival is a memorial to the same event. Then it gradually became a symbol of Hindu-Muslim harmony. Jawaharlal Nehru heads the revival of this festival. He gave it a new life in 1962. When the procession begins from the shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya, local dancers and musicians playing melodious pieces of shehnai lead it. Both Hindus and Muslims participate with even enthusiasm. Then the procession reaches the temple of Durga Jaga Maya and decorates the temple with colourful sheets and floral fans. Moving further, the procession ends at the shrine of thirteenth-century Sufi Bakhtyar Kaki. This shrine is also decorated with floral wreaths and fans. The festival, which continues throughout the week, also hosts music, Kathak dance, poetry, qawwali and kabady at Jahaz mahal and Hoz Shamsi of Mehrauli. Kite flying competitions are held. Nowadays, the Chief Minister of Delhi has also been offered flower fans and wreaths so that the patronage of the festival remains intact. When I was young, this festival used to be a symbol of Delhi’s cultural diversity and harmony. I do not know whether this tradition of celebrating cultural diversity is still alive or no more… To be continued
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Rocky Python ,Grandpa & Me ,Podcast Serial ,Episode 17.

Narration by: Shariq Ali
April 16, 2020
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Story of the wall built, rebuilt and extended over 2,000 years by many dynasties and kingdoms

 

 

The rain stopped and suddenly the sun came out. I and Yani Apa was quickly finishing off ice cream leaning against the museum wall made up of carved stones. It was prohibited to eat or drink inside the building. The magnificent architecture of the Neringabad Museum made of yellow stones in the backdrop of the soaked green grass of the spacious lawn seemed like the magical palace of an animated film. The central dome, both sides of the sanctuary, arched walls, windows stained with coloured glass, stairway leading to the steel door. I punched the stone wall lightly with my fist and said. Is the wall of China as strong as this one? Yani Apa said. Ancient buildings represent the hard work, skills and affection of the workers and architects who built it. A king named Qin Shi Huang was probably ordered to build a wall to protect China’s northern borders, in 221BC. The construction of the wall continued during the time of the Ming Dynasty from 1368 to 1644 AD. This is the wall that is still preserved. It is said that one million people were killed in its construction and most of them are buried underneath. First made of clay and stone and later brick, it is not just a wall but a series of seven thousand checkpoints, a wide road above and a series of residential and smoke signalling buildings. Its width is fifteen feet in most places and thirty-three feet in height. Many military settlements were set up near it so that immediate defence could be made possible in the event of an attack. What is its length, Yani Apa? I asked. It is the longest man-made building like a rocky python and is five thousand five hundred miles long. One of the seven wonders of the world and the only human-made building visible from space. I said. Grandpa told me that the hand cart was first invented and used in China. It would not have been possible to have built this wall if the hand cart was not invented. Correct. Yani Apa replied. How nice it would be. I said in a serious tone while looking at the sky If flying shoes are invented soon and I and you fly along the wall of China, through thick forests, plains, deserts, rivers and cities, reach the highest point on the wall that is five thousand feet above sea level. She said nothing. Just smiled at me, and we both walked to the museum door… To be continued
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Riverside. Grandpa & Me. Podcast Serial Episode 16

Narration by: Shariq Ali
April 10, 2020
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Riverside is the birthplace of civilizations. Why? Mamdu learns in this story

 

 

It seemed as if the waves in the flowing river are dancing the waltz while wearing golden, then orange, and now red costumes. Moving stealthily, the boat switched sides, and the golden sunset fell on Yani Apa’s smiling face and open black hair as if she has joined the Waltz of the flowing river. Grandpa and Uncle were sitting on the midsection bench of the boat and enjoying the sunset. Sitting on the stern, I was covertly mesmerized with the beauty of the sunshine falling on her face and alluring hair. The sailors operate on one side, sometimes on the other. This evening, having a riverboat ride was Yani Apa’s idea. When the sun went down and the sky turned darker, we all got off the boat and went to a restaurant by the river. Grandpa said: The civilization began on the banks of the river. But why? I asked. He replied. Ancient people were surviving on the hunt or fruit trees. Both were available on the banks of the river. The fertile soil was also there when they learned to grow crops. Human civilization began in four different river valleys in the world, between about three thousand three hundred and two thousand BC. Mesopotamia on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, Egyptian civilization along the Nile, the Indus Valley along the Indus River and the ancient Chinese civilization along the Yellow River. What is meant by civilization Grandpa? I asked. He said. Civilization comes from the skill of the people. City walls, pottery, working tools, musical instruments, toys, scripts and evidence of travelling to far-flung settlements are few signs of civilization. Uncle said. Amongst these civilizations, the five-thousand-year-old Indus Valley was the most extensive. In the area larger than present-day Pakistan, there are possible remains of about fourteen hundred small and large settlements. Some of these had a population of around eighty thousand. These were the first organized settlements in which residential and business areas were separated. According to some experts one million and others, five million people were living in Indus Valley MoenJodaro and Harappa are two great cities of this civilization which included regular drinking water, irrigation and drainage systems. Yani APA joined the conversation and said. In their class system, rich people engaged in gardens, music, religious rituals, various sports and entertainment, and the common people were either farmers or just slaves. Mind you Moenjodaro etc are the names we gave to these cities. We have no idea what they used to call these cities. The first use of dentistry and the use of idols is also exclusive to these cities. The port of Lothal was the first human-made port, built for the transport of goods… To be continued
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