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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Known Turf by author Annie Zaidi

Hey guys, Im still reading Annie Zaidi's Known Turf. So as part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday here on The Book Worm, here's the page I am currently on.

'...offered at a very personal altar. For each generation, there is a new kind of sound, and though I don't care for rock, Sufi verses have returned to newer generations with Rabbi's cover of 'Bulla ki jaana main kaun?'

Written by Bulle-Shah, saint-poet of the fifteenth century, the verse says, 'I do not know who I am.' This is a recurrent theme in Sufi verse: not being able to define the self. It is also an everyday theme for many of us. We know so little about ourselves or what life means, that it drives us to distraction. Sometimes, literally.

Once upon a time in a village in Punjab, there was a mast fakir called Wali Allah. When one says 'mast fakir', one refers to a drifting, wandering type of man, clearly seeking something that is not of the world; he might be unkempt, eccentric and perhaps not quite all there; he might often go about naked and be frequently chased or beaten or stoned by villagers.

One evening Wali Allah was being chased by a hostile mob. Wali Allah was running for his life when he saw a wall, and he jumped over it to crouch behind it, hiding from the mob. It turned out that there were already hiding behind this wall; a bunch of little boys eating stolen mangoes. They were scared by the sudden appearance of a naked fakir, and started screaming 'Who's it? Who is this?'

The equally frightened Wali babbling: 'That is what I don't know either. That is just what I don't know!'

All fakirs, sufis and pirs have at least one special legend associated with their names that makes them the pride of the dera, where they're buried and remembered. This one was told to me by Punjabi writer Desraj Kali, who happened to be one of those little.....'

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- Debolina Raja Gupta