Remembering two gems, stellar journalists and old friends

Two wonderful colleagues and friends departed this world rather suddenly within days of each other last month, leaving behind multitudes to mourn their loss — and celebrate their lives: Khalid Hameed Farooqui, Geo News correspondent in Brussels, 7 May, and Editor The News Talat Aslam, 25 May. We honoured both at the In Memoriam section of the Southasia Peace or Sapan event on the last Sunday of May, along with others.

Khalid Hameed Farooqui: A lifetime of politics, journalism, and activism in Europe and Pakistan.
Talat Aslam: His tweets @Titojourno gathered a fan following for his posts on politics, food, film, music and nocturnal wanderings in Karachi.

The tribute to Khalid by European Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer in a press briefing shortly after Khalid’s passing speaks for the respect he inspired amongst colleagues and political figures:

TNS page on Talat Aslam, online, TNS e-paper, 29 May 2022

Friend Saifullah Saify in Amsterdam organised a wonderful online tribute for Khalid, with tributes from personalities like Farhatullah Babar, and journalists Hamid Mir, Asma Shirazi, Munizae Jahangir, Amber Rahim Shamsi, Murtaza Solangi, Mazhar Abbas, Raza Rumi, Nazir Leghari – see video clips at this playlist on his YouTube channel.

Sharing below my piece on Tito, as friends and family called Talat, one of three articles carried by The News on Sunday in a full page tribute. The two other remembrances, by colleagues Zia ur Rehman and Gulraiz Khan, are online here. My piece includes a couple of my illustrations for Tito’s columns in The Star 1986-88.

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Solidarity with Sri Lanka

The situation in Sri Lanka is really dire. We at Sapan issued this statement 02 June – posted to website. Pls share widely: Southasians express solidarity with Sri Lanka, concern about economic and humanitarian crises.

Excerpt: “Amidst all the tension and uncertainty, it is important to note the undercurrent of hope enabled by the active engagement of individuals, organisations and civil society calling for accountability and good governance.” 

Here’s the scan of a report shared just now by a friend waiting in a petrol queue – the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has only a week’s worth of fuel left:

She also shared a short piece from the Daily Mirror today. Excerpt:

“The people of Sri Lanka deserve to live their lives without these politically-triggered interruptions.  Towards that end, I implore international companies that Sri Lanka works with to not divert business from here when we need their support and partnership the most.  Hopefully tourists will return once the country finds stability.  The wonders of this country still remain as beautiful, unmarred by the constant disruption.”  – Paradise Disrupted

A 58-year old daily wage labourer who lives in a single room on the outskirts of Colombo with her husband shares how they’ve had to switch from cooking with gas, to kerosene, and now firewood. Her husband forages for vegetables and edible leaves on his way home from work. See her story at: Financial Pandemic: ‘Sri Lanka is not a country for poor people now’, The Fuller Project, 20 May, 2022.

Kabir festival in Boston this weekend

UPDATE 11 June: Due to rain Kabir Festival postponed to Sunday June 19,2022. Please inform everyone

Some friends have been working hard on the upcoming Kabir Festival in Cambridge MA. Excited for it and fingers crossed it doesn’t rain. Our weekly Wednesday meeting this time focused on Kabir, and they showed this documentary by Kashif ul Huda, TwoCircles.net

Details about the Kabir Festival in the press statement below:

Kabir Festival 2022: Celebrating the humanistic values of an ancient mystic

Event poster

BOSTON: A cultural event to commemorate the birth anniversary of Kabir Das, an ancient South Asian mystic and social reformer will take place Sunday, 12 June 2022, at Danehy Park, Cambridge MA.

The Kabir Festival 2022 honors the values propagated by Kabir Das, a 15th century poet whose message of humanism, fraternity, love, harmony and equality resonates today in a world that is in many ways much like his. Then as now, great and astonishing changes were taking place, causing anxiety, fear, strife and dislocations.

Kabir’s message of humanism, fraternity, love, harmony and equality resonates today in a world that is in many ways much like his. Then as now, great and astonishing changes were taking place, causing anxiety, fear, strife and dislocations.

Ahead of Kabir’s birth anniversary on 14 June 2022, several individuals and organizations of the South Asian community are organizing a Kabir Festival in Cambridge. The organizers hope to bring Kabir’s message of peace, harmony and love to people in our troubled times.

The festival includes performances by local musicians, singers and artists. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

The outdoor gathering will observe Covid-19 guidelines as per the City of Cambridge.

Participating organizations include Learn Quest Academy of Music, New England Hindi Manch, Kabir Society, Sanjha Punjab, Southasia Peace Action Network, Subdrift Boston, Boston Study Group and Jago World.

Contact: Rupal Shah: Email – south-asian-center@googlegroups.com

Sapan News

The Wednesday discussion also shared this music video by the Kabir Cafe in Mumbai:

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