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Showing posts from March, 2013

Dr Syud Hossain – A true patriot

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Part 1 The fiery orator and nationalist

Most people would not know who this person is; some people may have seen his name on a few websites talking ill of the Nehru family and others studying the independence movement would have seen fleeting mentions here and there. But simply, 99.99% of the people of India have no clue about this gentleman. And of course they and most of India would not know very much about the key role America played in the last rounds of the fight for Indian independence and the Indian lobby in America and their fight from distant shores has been long forgotten. The whole story will take many words and a lot of paper to retell, but the role of Syud Hossein in these events is, like many others, a revealing story of patriotism. In my research, I thus came to know more of this secular and fiery orator who wowed listeners in America during his lecture trips, of a lecturer and professor, who spoke to full classes, where there was not even standing room at times and of …

An Afghan, two Indian poets and a German

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And their connections to Minute Rice and Harvard

What earthly connection can all these people have and how can one mix rice with poetry? Therein lies an interesting tale concerning an enterprising individual, a fiery orator, a German scholar and the Urdu poetry of Ghalib and Mir. I stumbled into this by chance when I was doing an in-depth study on a great personality named Syud Hossain, whom I will write about later. This however has to do with an Afghan émigré named Ataullah Ozai Durrani, his obsession with rice and poetry. Being from a rice farming family myself, the story intrigued me and well, it now finds a place for itself in my collection, delaying the story of Hossain for later publication.

The Durrani’s (remember Salim Durrani the sixer hitting cricketer – also a man from Kabul?)or Abdali’s are Pashtuns from the Kandahar area of Afghanistan. I will not write much about the dynasty or their history, but well, as the story goes, in 1926, when Kandahar was part of the British em…

Ranjit and Leili

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The legend of Leili

Well, people wondering what I am upto this time may be led astray by the title thinking it has something to do some love story. Well, it sure is, but not involving two people, but a man and a horse. Some years back, I wrote about the Kohinoor diamond, a particularly popular article and in that I promised to tell the tale of Ranjit Singh’s horse Leili (a.k.a Laila, Laylee, Asp-i-Lailia and Leila), the one who adorned the Kohinoor diamond on many an important occasion. I am not sure if the British Queen or Kate knows, but well if legends are to be believed, Leili the horse for one, used to wear it before them.

The very mention of Ranjit Singh will get the Punjabi blood going. This revered leader and king is still popular with every Punjabi Sikh, and of course he was a great king in his life. This one eyed, pock marked king created the Sikh empire, becoming a 20 year old Maharaja in 1801making Lahore his capital in 1799. Ranjit Singh died in 1839, after a reign of nea…