Zafar’s epitaph

The following poem was written by Bahadur Shah Zafar as his epitaph. (there is some controversy as to the authorship – but I will treat this as legend)
In Urdu
Lagta nahiin hai jii mera ujray dayar mein
Kis kii banii hai aalam-e-na-payedar mein

Kah do in hasarataun se kahiin awr jaa basen
Itanii jagah kahan hai dil-i daaghdaar mein

Bulbul ko baghban say na sayyad say gila
Kismat main qaid likhi thi mausam-e-bahar main
Umr-i daraaz maang ke laaye they chaar din
Do aarzu mein kat gaye do intezaar mein

Hai kitna bad nasiib Zafar dafn ke liye
Do gaz zamiin bhii na milii ku-ye yaar mein

English Translation
My heart is not happy in this despoiled land
Who has ever felt fulfilled in this transient world

Tell these emotions to go dwell elsewhere
Where is there space for them in this besmirched (bloodied) heart?
The nightingale laments neither to the gardener nor to the hunter
Imprisonment was written in fate in the season of spring
I had requested for a long life a life of four days
Two passed by in pinning, and two in waiting.
How unlucky is Zafar! For burial
Even two yards of land were not to be had, in the land (of the) beloved

Bahadurshah Zafar

Dalrymple Reading

Went to Dalrymple’s reading today. And was totally blown away by his talk.

Rafi singing Zafar:

Hindi Song Title: Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hun
Hindi Movie/Album Name: LAL QUILA
Singer(s): MOHD RAFI

Hindi Lyrics:

Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon

Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon
Na Kisi Ke Dil Ka Qarar Hoon
Jo Kisi Ke Kaam Na Aa Sake
Main Woh Ek Mushth-E-Ghubaar Hoon
Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon

Na To Main Kisi Ka Habeeb Hoon
Na To Main Kisi Ka Raqeeb Hoon
Jo Bigad Chala Gaya Woh Naseeb Hoon Jo Ujad Gaya Woh Dayaar Hoon

Mera Rang Roop Bigad Gaya
Mera Yaar Muhjse Bichad Gaya
Jo Chaman Khizaan Mein Ujad Gaya
Main Usi Ki Fasl-e-Bahar Hoon

Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon
Na Kisi Ke Dil Ka Qarar Hoon

Pay- Faatiha Koyi Aaye Kyon
Koyi Chaar Phool Chadaye Kyon
Koyi Aake Shama Jalaye Kyon
Koyi Aake Shama Jalaye Kyon
Main Woh Be-Kasi Ka Mazaar Hoon
Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon
Na Kisi Ke Dil Ka Karar Hoon
Jo Kisi Ke Kaam Na Aa Sake
Main Woh Ek Musth-E-Gubaar Hoon
Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon

(Though this part had not been sung by Rafi 
yet useful for those who love this Nazm of Bahadur Shah Jafar, 
the last Moghul Emperor). Here it goes-

Main Kahaan Rahoon Main Khahan Basoon
Na Yeh Mujhse Khush Na Woh Mujhse Khush
Main Zameen Ki Peeth Ka Bojh Hoon
Main Falak Ke Dil Ka Gubaar Hoon
Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon

Here is Ghalib on Delhi:

The Chowk is a slaughter ground
And homes are prisons.
Every grain of dust in Delhi
Thirsts for Muslims’ blood.
Even if we were together
We could only weep over our lives.

More on Dalrymple here.



Michael, Liam and Malte

This is my note to you about the impact of the New Endeavour grant students from India (NID-National Institute of Design) upon our course next semester.

Info first:

1. There will be 12 students, extra students, in the program ballotting process.

2. These are all semester 7/ year 4 students – in their penultimate semester.

3. For their studios they could do either Upper Pool or, if possible at all (MW?), a ballotted major project. And for the ‘other’ they could do one or two electives. And or a studies.

4. I am involving Praveen Nahar, their staff member, in the decision of what he thinks has parity with what they would have done at NID as their sem 7 courses.

5. There are five male and 7 female students. I point this out to raise the aspect of gender balance.

Re Ballotting:

Re Studios: They come from a ‘product design’ course. This in NID is different from the furniture design course, and Industrial Design is the term they use to describe a larger grouping which includes – PD, FD, Ceramics, Textiles and all that is not Visual Communication. The course is ‘manufacturing’ and mass-production orientated. And so their natural affinity/appropriate course of development would be toward our more ‘object’ design orientated studio/elective slots.

Re Elective: From my sense of their penultimate year they may focus more on the ‘elective as a small studio’. That is the elective turns into a design project.

Re Studies: I wonder if they will venture into theory – but have provided it as an option within the elective category.

Re Major Project: I just threw this in as these students are 4th year students – and do we want them to work with our year 2 and 3. Or should they battle it out as a major project.

Re Various: I have put two as the maximum number for each ballotted slot. This will distribute the students over six or more slots. Much better for engagement between our students and them.

Through this process we are going to have a pre-ballot list. And one or 2 less places in the final ballotting process.

NOTE: I leave for India on 14th and would like to complete this process before I leave so that I can discuss the allocations when I am there. So am keen to know what you have finalised as studios/ electives/ studies on offer next sem.

Michael and I caught up

Michael Trudgeon and I had a chat yesterday. Even as Veronica stayed locked up in a dark and empty factory waiting for help. Very CSI feel to the conversation. I almost heard steps, and the chainsaw in the background. And if I hada remote would have liked to have clicked on an ariel shot of the factory (triangulated from the location of her phone which was switched oin as I had just spoken to her – or do I call her and Liam jumps up and makes vigorous circling motions with his hands – while he fiddles with his computer or bike light to locate the phone) – and we together zoom down matrix like. There she is – and so we do a swivel shot seeing Veronica from all sides. But cut to Michael – and there is talk now of a chat – just he and I at the Northern. Lets meet. And this is overlaid with the sound of the sirens and wheels on gravel (factory has to have gravel in its drive – but they dont do they – no we have to have that chewing meusli like sound in the back). Cut – blank screen.

Good to catch up with you Michael – and let me spruik Crowd while I am basking in this warm glow of comaraderie. Do go and see the site they do some awesome work.

Remember Michael the 04 semester we taught together – those conversations. Ah they were good weren’t they?

Reading and Writing

(Reproduced Post to PhD Design this morning)

For writing – the activity of Reading is useful too. And in the corridors here we usually hear that students these days dont read. Therefore and quite incidentally I offer two points for discussion from my experience this semester:

On Reading:

I am teaching a 12 Credit course this semester called “Reading India” – mainly for students going from here to India for a semester on a grant. To get them into India I made a handout. For this I compiled articles, book chapters and papers on and from India. Each of these was chosen because it was hugely confronting – for example one dealt with the eyewitness account of the daylight massacre in Ahmedabad a few years ago, and so on for the rest of them. The task for the students was to do two papers through the semester: the first was to be on a confronting topic and the second was to be on ‘design and industry’. Most of the first papers are in and weeks ago when they read it out in class – I was quite stunned at the quality. One paper dealt with Vandana Shiva and her fight with the global corporations over patent rights for Rice, Neem and Turmeric. Philippa who wrote this piece was quite passionate in her support through the piece – and at the end she decides to address criticisms about Shiva the person and the prima donna act. And that was quite slickly done. Another did ‘the hunger project’ – which took her into the discourse of the ‘other’.

In retrospect the problem here was not the student – they could write. But the problem was me, this academic, who believed they would not be able to write and so went in with a first set of texts – that would shock them out of their complacency. Is that what happened – was that why their writing was so good? Not sure I know the answer to this. But something else is coming through – their second papers are causing them grief. What are the topics? Automobile design in India, Craft in India – and so on. The indication seems to be that these topics are difficult to read – they go to sleep. Maybe “gruesome car crashes in India” may have been more engrossing. In short haven’t thought about this – and not really sure what is going on.

On writing:

Three of my PhDs and one Masters by Research student are in the last stretch of their time with me. And they are all furiously writing. But in January things were a bit different – so I spent quite some time marshaling resources on writing and talking/walking them through the material – and they have all come back to say how helpful all that was to them. You can find all that material here:

ABC series on STUFF

I had a trial interview today with Cynthia and Karen for the ABC series on Stuff. Michael Trudgeon had put Wendy Harmer on to me. (Have to call Michael) And I got to show Cynthia ( while Karen fiddled with the equipment) the Spending habits video. And then talked for 17.XX minutes about things, material culture and so on.