Monday, 14 October 2013

Self Reflection : Groping in the Dark. ~ by Ali Mirza

Temporal vicissitudes adorn,
life's indelible impressions besiege,
At times all you do is scorn,
while the innerverse can only seethe.

Plunging horrors! A myriad of abysses delving within,
insuperable thunder birthing beams for absurd progressions,
The quest for substance! A mere tautological whim?
unbridled quandaries with seamless obsessions.

Hollow labels exemplify a self deceptive monstrosity,
an evidently delusional and chimerical existence,
But live on, oh Humankind! with a Sisyphean tenacity,
sectioning thy fellow beings while harboring indifference.

Friday, 20 September 2013

My Response to Tavleen Singh's article on Muslim Radicalization and Muzaffarnagar riots

Here is Tavleen Singh's article.

The growing Muslim radicalization is a fact. whether it's because of external factors pertaining to US/Israel interventions in ME or Saudi funded Salafist theology or any other reason. what must be observed to determine whether A or B is a national security threat is: how *many* of them are ACTUALLY willing to adopt violent Jihad or actively engage in terrorist activities. Growing beards,wearing Burqas or the refusal to mingle with the crowd don't count as proof. It could merely be to have a sense of one's own identity. Religious symbolism is often used to assert oneself .It is the individual's right.. The duty of the state to protect it's minorities from the tyranny of the majority BUT that's not done by appeasing A side to enrage side B. Maximum effort must be put in to ensure fairness and impartiality via legitimate institutions.  That is the hallmark of a true Secular democracy.

As far as Tavleen Singh's article is concerned, she has rightly pointed out the lack of Liberal MSM coverage on the growing Islamist intolerance and the pseudo-secular actions of UP Govt. Although I agree with the essence of the article, insinuating that every bearded Muslim man is a potential Jihadi is a bigoted conclusion. One must avoid a stereotype perpetuated analysis. Unfortunately, what perturbs me the most is the absence of a basic level of nuance required in making a point (especially in mainstream discourse). Journos mustn't leave scope for interpretation on sensitive issues especially while making relatively anecdotal assertions (in this case, her private source). Tavleen should have provided more evidence to support her claim about bearded men and Burqa clad women. Nevertheless, it is important for everyone not to let this issue off the hook and pile on as much as evidence as possible.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A basic introduction to Islamic Finance and some of the issues surrounding it.

I never really followed Islamic Banking much. The concept of an "interest free" system sounded absurd. But when the Indian Government/RBI cleared it in Kerala, I became a bit more curious. Here is some of my research on Islamic banking. It's a vast topic and ever growing field. It's obvious that I have missed out on several other topics and anyone who wants to add to the article, please do so in the comments section.

Islamic finance started as a small cottage industry in some Arab countries in the late 1970s. It distinguishes itself from conventional finance in its ostensible compliance with principles of Islamic law, or Sharia. Its growth has been accelerating ever since, in terms of the number of countries in which it operates, as well as the areas of finance in which it has ventured. Islamic Bank assets are expected to hit $1.8 Trillion by the end of 2013.

Islamic finance is principally implemented to comply with the main tenets of Sharia law. The main sources of Sharia are the Holy Quran, Hadith, Sunna, Ijma, Qiyas and Ijtihad.

From a vantage point (ideally), we understand that Islamic financial firms are types of financial intermediaries that employ Sharia principles. Sharia commands adjustment of all aspects of Muslims’ lives and enforces a moral system. The conventional financial system focuses on the capitalistic features of economic and financial processes but, Islamic finance aims to make an equitable distribution in resources and social fairness in society.

Some of its general principles are as follows:

1. -The prohibition of Riba (Usury or Interest is translated to mean Riba which literally means an excess or addition above the principle lent) and the removal of debt-based financing from the economy. Riba leads to money being made from money: an unacceptable practice in Islamic finance.

2. -The prohibition of Gharar (translated as risk, hazard or uncertainty), i.e. the full disclosure of information and removal of any irregularities in a contract. (in simple terms, to avoid cases where the purchaser does not know what he has bought and/or the seller does not know what he has sold). Example from a Hadith - the purchase of an unborn animal in its mother’s womb is forbidden

3. -The exclusion of financing and dealing in activities and commodities which involve Maysir and other sinful activities – Example: Gambling, production of alcohol etc.

4. -The provider of financial funds and the entrepreneur share business risk in return for shares of profits and losses. Example: The Mudarabah and Musarakah.

5. -A financial transaction should not lead to the exploitation of any party to the transaction.


Other Islamic financial instruments are Zakah (payments to the poor) and Takaful (Islamic insurance). Islam makes it mandatory for the rich to support the poor and needy, hence Zakah is obligatory for all Muslims with wealth. Takaful is like a mutual self-help scheme between those who wish to support each other in difficult times. It can be established with a pool of funds by a group of people whose aim is not to obtain profit from the pool, but they may invest its funds in permissible activities in Islam to increase the fund’s wealth. In turn, the Takaful provides members with financial help in the instance of specific events.


An Islamic bank is a deposit-taking banking institution whose scope of activities includes all currently known banking activities, excluding borrowing and lending on the basis of interest. On the liabilities side, it mobilizes funds on the basis of Mudarabah contract. It can also accept demand deposits which are treated as interest-free loans from the clients to the bank, and which are guaranteed. On the assets side, it advances funds on a profit-and-loss sharing or a debt-creating basis, in accordance with the principles of the Sharia. It plays the role of an investment manager for the owners of time deposits called investment deposits. In addition, equity holding as well as commodity and asset trading constitute an integral part of Islamic banking operations. An Islamic bank shares its net earnings with its depositors in a way that depends on the size and date-to-maturity of each deposit. Depositors are informed beforehand of the formula used for sharing the net earning with the bank. There are different kinds of Islamic banking such as Islamic social banks, development banks, commercial banks and holding banks. Most modern Islamic banks are examples of commercial banks that offer deposit accounts and financing instruments derived from Islamic principles.

Some of the principal instruments of Islamic finance methods as practiced by Islamic banks and other financial institutions are:

1. Mudarabah, the provision of capital in a partial-equity partnership - Profits are then shared between the two parties (rabb-al-mal and mudarib) according to some pre-agreed ratio in the contract. If there are losses the investor bears all financial losses and the entrepreneur the operating losses; principally the opportunity cost of their own efforts. The majority of Islamic jurists and scholars hold the view that Mudarabah contracts are only really suitable for commercial activities.








2. Musharakah, full equity partnerships – It is most suited for financing private or public companies and project financing. Musharakah is described as a joint venture between an Islamic bank and a customer or business firm for certain operations. There are 2 kinds of contracts: First one where a permanent contract which ensures its parties (the investor, bank and entrepreneur)have an equitable share in the annual profit/loss on pre-agreed terms. Second one is a diminishing contract preferred by bankers as it allows the bank to reduce its share of equity each year and receive periodic profits based on the reducing equity balance. In this form, the equity share of the customer in the capital of enterprise increases over time until he or she becomes the sole owner of the enterprise.
















3. Murabaha, an instrument used for financing the purchase of goods – it is a two-party buying and selling contract between bank and customer involving no financial inter-mediation or financing. Under the Murabaha contract, the customer provides the bank with the specifications and prices of the goods to be purchased or imported. The bank studies the application and collects information about the specifications and prices of the goods, focusing especially on the price and conditions for payment. When the bank and its client agree on the terms of the deal, the bank purchases the goods or commodities and resells them to the customer. The profit that accrues to the bank is mutually agreed upon as a profit margin (mark-up) on the cost of purchase.

4. Bai muajjall, deferred payments on products – this allows business or individuals to receive products now and pay for their value in the future.

5. Bai Salam, advance sale contracts - is a sale contract in which the price is paid in advance at the time of contracting against delivery of the purchased goods/services at a specified future date. It’s permissible only when it satisfies conditions like (i) the commodities sold should not be available at the time of contracting; (ii) the quality and quantity of goods must be known; (iii) the date and place of delivery for these commodities should be defined; and (iv) the purchase cost price should be paid completely at the time of the contract.

6. Istisna, or manufacturing contracts – this allows one party to obtain industrial goods with either an upfront cash payment and deferred delivery or deferred payment and delivery. here individuals or firms request their bank to facilitate a contract of production for a good, and the bank concludes an Istisna contract with a third party (the manufacturer) to produce and deliver the specific item under particular requirements

7. Ijarah, lease financing - is the reward or recompense that proceeds from a rental contract between two parties, where the lessor (the owner of the asset) leases capital asset to the lessee (the user of the asset).

8. Quard Hassan - a system of benevolent loans without interest to assist the needy in an attempt to alleviate hardship. The amount paid by the lender is considered an interest-free loan from the time of payment until the date of the settlement. The borrower’s payment of any amount over and above the principal to the lender is permissible so long as it is at the borrower’s discretion.



What concerns most of us it the Islamic deposit accounts. There are three main types-

1. Islamic current accounts are a service offered to depositors to process bank transfers and pay cheques through existing transfer and settlement systems. These accounts are payable on demand and no interest or profits are paid to depositors. Current accounts can also be held in a foreign currency to facilitate international trade.

2. As with comparable products offered by conventional banks, Islamic savings accounts offer flexible deposits, withdrawal on demand and a guarantee of capital. However, unlike conventional bank savings accounts, interest is forbidden on account balances. Depositors can, however, obtain benefits in the form of ‘prizes’ that depend, in part, on the value of the deposit and the bank’s profitability. These services are also often offered fee-free to depositors.

3. Islamic investment deposit accounts are designed for customers who wish to invest their funds using profit/loss sharing principles. Investment accounts are usually administrated under the principles of Mudarabah and Musharakah that establish the bank as the entrepreneur or a participant and the depositor as an investor or a participant.



Outside retail services, Islamic banks offer many similar services to conventional banks in the form of performance bonds, letters of guarantee, letters of credit, travellers’ cheques, money transfers, foreign exchange transactions and safe deposits. In these situations, the Islamic bank can collect a service or administration fee corresponding to the expense incurred on the service rendered under Sharia.



If we took the example of purchasing a property again, it could be done in three possible ways – Musharaka, Murabaha and Ijara. The payments might be the same for all these processes as well as for the standard conventional practice of payment of interest used commonly for mortgages. The difference is that the rate of return is based on the asset transaction and not based on interest on money loaned. The difference is in the approach and not necessarily on the financial impact. There is an inherent difference in the way the transaction is carried out, and all based upon the previously mentioned prohibition of Riba. The intention is to avoid injustice and unfair enrichment at the expense of another party.


There are some concerns with Islamic banking with regards to the transparency in Zakat transactions. For example- Al Qaeda operates under a veil of legitimacy including businesses created by Bin Laden in Sudan, as well as honey traders in Yemen that the U.S. recently identified as part of Al Qaeda’s financial network. It also earns money through criminal enterprises ranging from the heroin trade to smuggling, fraud, and theft. Some of the money trails were connected to Islamic banks. It's important that these banks fortify their financial activities and maintain transparency. Other problems involve the draconian aspects of Sharia law and it's inflexible religious diktats. We cannot allow religious overtones in laws passed by a secular state.


Like Conventional banking, Islamic banking too has several loopholes. According to experts, there have been significant changes in it's financial system and a constant evolution in the working mechanisms. I leave it to the policymakers to decide if this can coexist along side the current Global Financial System. Perhaps, a better alternative would be to incorporate the desired aspects of Islamic banking into our finance system without the religious context.


For more detailed information on Islamic Finance :
 1) http://ifp.law.harvard.edu/login/publications2

2) IMF working paper on Islamic Finance by Olga Krasicka and Sylwia Nowak

3) Terrorist Financing- UC-Berkeley paper (2005)

Friday, 9 August 2013

Muslim Mobs, Educated terrorists and Voices of Reason.

*****Some random thoughts on the problems Muslim society faces today******

There is an increasing trend of Muslim mobs creating havoc,especially after Friday prayers and other mass gatherings for political/religious reasons or just plain thuggery. some of the reasons for this are- 

1) The Maulvis/Mullahs are alot more informed/funded today, hence to fulfill their agenda they dissolve their political affiliations in a literalist-medieval interpretation of Islam. Contextualization and metaphorization are unappealing (often incomprehensible) to the bigoted and jobless hooligans. 

2) The victimhood narrative perpetuated by sections of mainstream media (especially the vernacular dailies) is at full flow. At a subconscious level, even the moderate Muslims fall prey to this propaganda. 

3) Educated debates on Islam which deconstruct the doctrine of Jihad,Khilafah, Shariah etc in mainstream are unheard of. Sometimes local cultural influences are often misconstrued as universal diktats. People like Zakir Naik distort scientific facts for his ill informed brood of followers and unfortunately I don't see any erudite scientist standing up against it. Only when we bring the contentious issues into limelight, the layman can see things clearly. It's like separating wheat from husk.
4) The most important reason in my opinion is the Moderates are not speaking out against the unscientific/unipolar clergy and wily politicians (who happen to form Muslim laws) and question their unlawful hegemony over Islamic thought. Concepts like Ijtehad and Fitra are never debated in orthodox Muslim circles. This innate fear of change/improvement has kept the Muslim masses behind. The Islamists with their limited view of the world challenge these changes and equate them to Bid'ah (most dimwits think reformation=Bid'ah. they're different concepts).

Another worrying trend with respect to terrorism (and the most worrisome) is the involvement of educated Muslims. Jihadis can either have a Muslim or a non Muslim background. Most of these educated Jihadis with Muslim background undergo a radical transformation when there's a clash of the civilizations. The "intrusive" western civilization, Isolation/humiliation, identity crisis etc are major factors that gradually drive them into the abyss of extremism. The Jihadis with non Muslim backgrounds is a curious phenomena. IMO it's a case of mental illness, feeble mindedness or just plain genetics (over aggression in the genes).
 
Muslims must wake up before Islamophobes like Robert Spencer, Pamella Gellar, Ann Coulter and co become successful in their malicious agenda of "wiping out Islam and it's followers". Ideas are best defeated by new ideas. This propaganda of an elite Muslim Ummah vs rest of the world and attempts at homogenizing society must be ridiculed/opposed at every level and the emphasis has to shift from collectivism to individuality. we cannot afford to have universality and equality as hyphenated concepts. They are absolute and non-negotiable.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Islam, Islamism, Reformation and The Way Ahead.

Before I start, I want to make it clear that I’m not an Islamic scholar. Therefore I could have made mistakes while writing this article. I’ll be grateful to anyone who would point them out.  I’m writing this as a concerned Muslim/Human Being/World Citizen. My intention is not to antagonize anyone. I hope everyone reads this with an open mind.

The fall of the Iron curtain and disintegration of USSR was celebrated worldwide. Communism was defeated comprehensively as it proved to be a failed ideology. The polarized world had ceased to exist. People were jubilant and envisioned a future of peace, progress and prosperity. Globalization and later The Internet made the world a smaller place. It’s even possible that nationalities would be nonexistent in the next 150 years. The forward march towards a sophisticated and highly rational civilization has begun. In reality, unfortunately things are not that simple. Since all motions are relative (depends on the point of view of the individual), there is a significant minority which views it the other way/opposite direction. This decadent minority would go at any length to establish their malicious agenda even if it means large scale depopulation, brutal wars and absolute infringement of individual rights. One such group belonging to the evil minority is The Islamists. The reason why I choose to highlight this particular group should be obvious to anyone who knows what is plaguing the world today. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria etc are terrorized daily by these lunatics and the rest of the world is constantly under threat of violent attacks.

The Islamists claim that they are the warriors of Islam and everything they do is for the cause of Allah. They quote the Islamic scriptures to justify their barbaric acts and call it Jihad or holy war. These terrorists brainwash the feeble-minded into becoming suicide bombers (from an Islamist perspective- A martyr) and create havoc by killing innocents and disrupting normal life. Strangely, most of the victims of Islamist terror are ordinary Muslims. It makes one wonder, Why is the majority of Muslim society suffering today? Many frail minded folks would blame the West for all their problems. But the fact remains that the enemy is within. Only when Muslims realize this, we can hope to change for the better.

I am going to analyze some specifics/issues in Islam which I believe are a major hindrance to the progress of Muslim society. I shall also offer solutions which are reconcilable with the spirit of Islam and congruous to achieving the ultimate goal of Global peace. Some of the issues in discussion are faced by every human being, regardless of race, religion and sex. These are social, economic and political problems at personal and societal level. Other issues clearly exist as a result of medieval/tribal/crude/irrational dogma/tradition. I shall expound on this after highlighting all the issues. Here are some of the specifics I’ll focus on:

1)  Women’s rights, Polygamy and marriage
2) Apostasy and Blasphemy
3)  Jihad and martyrdom
4)  Homosexuality and adultery
5) Slavery, concept of blood money and Kafir/Kufr/Infidels

Women’s rights, Polygamy and marriage

"O ye who believe! it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; nor should you detain them wrongfully that you may take away part of that which you have given them, except that they be guilty of a flagrant evil; and consort with them in kindness; and if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing wherein Allah has placed much good." (The Holy Quran - Ch.4:V.20)

It’s well known fact that pre Islamic Arabia was a living hell for women. Men could have any number of wives and the concept of Woman being an equal member of the society was unknown. Prophet Mohammed introduced many reforms which resulted in tremendous upliftment of women. Prostitution was banned; women got a share in property, the limit of wives for each man was brought down to four etc… It was a monumental change for 6th century Arabia. But, now we are in the 21st century and as every civilization/race/religion in the world has evolved, so must we.

In the modern world, Women are considered equal to men whether it’s military, Finance, Science or any field. Individuality is a human right and is crucial for anyone to succeed and elevate his status in the current society. Unfortunately this is not the case with a large section of Muslims especially in countries where the Sharia Law is implemented. The world is aware of these draconian Laws. The Islamist Jurists are the greatest spin masters the world has ever seen. For example:

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah would have them to guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance); for Allah is most High and Great (above you all). If you fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers. If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation; for Allah has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things." (The Holy Quran- An-Nisa': 34-35)

The above verse is often used by Islamists to beat/torture women who are not “obedient”. Actually the meaning is very different here. The Arabic word used in Verse 4:34 above is "idribuhunna", which is derived from "daraba" which means "beat".  The issue with all of the Arabic words that are derived from the word "daraba" is that they don't necessarily mean "hit".  The word "idribuhunna" for instance, could very well mean to "leave" them.  It is exactly like telling someone to "beat it" or "drop it" in English. The word "daraba" is also used in the Quranic Verse 14:24 :

 "Seest thou not how Allah sets (daraba) forth a parable? -- A goodly Word Like a goodly tree, Whose root is firmly fixed, And its branches (reach) To the heavens".

"daraba" here meant "give an example".  If I say in Arabic "daraba laka mathal", it means "give you an example". This is just one of the examples of how some scholars of Islam manipulate the meaning of Quranic verses.

However , the problem is much more deep rooted. Several hadiths order Muslim men to beat women for almost any reason. For example:  
                                                            
Sahih Bukhari (72:715) – “A woman came to Muhammad and begged her to stop her husband from beating her.  Her skin was bruised so badly that she it is described as being "greener" than the green veil she was wearing.  Muhammad did not admonish her husband, but instead ordered her to return to him and submit to his sexual desires.”


Abu Dawud (2142) - "The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife."

The Hadiths quoted above a considered “authentic” by Islamic scholars. One may ask, what does this indicate? It’s pretty obvious that if the Islamist scholars cannot twist the meaning of the verses from the Quran, they use the Hadith and other related sources (which I won’t even bother exploring in my article). As far as the veracity of Hadiths is concerned, I would suggest people to read The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence” - a widely influential work of noted British-German orientalist Joseph Schacht on the medieval 'ilm al-ḥadith, or the science of ḥadith literature. It clearly shows how flawed the methodology of collecting the hadith was.

I know I have just hit a raw nerve of most Muslims now by questioning the authenticity of most hadiths. But ask yourself, as civilized and educated folks, can we allow our daughters/sisters/mothers to be beaten by other men?
I ask you to pay heed to the verse below and introspect:

“Among His Signs is this, that he created for you mates from among yourselves, that they may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect." [The Quran 30:21]

Another controversial issue worth pondering on is Polygamy. Although only 2-3% of the Muslim men follow this, the fact is that the Islamists believe that it’s OK to have 4 wives. The orthodox Ulema justify polygamy on the most frivolous/malicious grounds. They argue that men's sexual needs are greater than those of women; secondly, they argue that women go through periods or give birth to children and it is not possible to have sexual intercourse with them during these periods and hence man needs more than one wife. They also argue that if a woman is terminally ill it is better to marry another woman rather than divorce her and make her psychological wreck. Also, if she is barren and cannot give birth to another child, it is better to take second wife without divorcing her and add to her woes. She already suffers from lack of children.

“If you fear you will not deal justly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if you fear that you cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or the captives that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that you will not do injustice” (The Quran 4:2-3).

I shall explain about the “captives” in the Slavery section, but basically this is the verse which the Islamists justify for having four wives. These “polygamy verses” were revealed shortly after the battle of Uhud, which was a devastating loss to the early Muslim community with many men dying on the battlefield.  The gender imbalance, and the fact that at the time and place women largely depended on men for their economic survival, made polygamy a pragmatic solution for a woman seeking protection for herself and protection for her children who no longer had a father but often had valuable property to their name that could be stolen or mismanaged by male guardians. So it is clear that the Quran permits polygamy for the purpose of caring for orphaned children and defending their assets The world has changed a lot since 6th century Arabia, this was good then, but is unacceptable today and rightly so!

There are several other aspects like alimony, share in property, dress code etc… which needs to be reformed and a liberal/humanistic outcome is preferable.

Apostasy and Blasphemy

There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is here forth distinct from error..." [The Quran 2:256]

"And so, O Prophet, exhort them, thy task is ONLY to exhort; thou canst NOT compel them to believe." [The Quran 88:21-22]

"Call thou (all mankind) unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in MOST KINDLY MANNER..." [16:125]

From the above verses, one may think that apostates/ex Muslims have the option of discarding/criticizing Islam whenever they feel like. These are principles adopted in a civilized, democratic and secular society. Unfortunately, there are several other sources which advocate the opposite to all of this. For example: 

“How shall God guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the apostle was true and that clear signs had come unto them? But God guides not a people unjust. Of such the reward is that on them (rests) the curse of God, of His Angels, and of all mankind;--In that will they dwell; nor will their penalty be lightened, nor respite be their lot;--except for those that repent (even) after that, make amends; For verily God is oft-forgiving, most merciful." [The Quran 3:86-89]

Islamists use the phrase, "curse of Allah," as a license to murder anyone considered to be an apostate. Plus there are several Hadith which call for murder of apostates

Narrated Ikrima: Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "
Sahih Bukhari 4:52:260

'Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony (to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah), but in one of the three cases: the married adulterer, a life for life, and the deserter of his Din (Islam), abandoning the community.
Sahih Muslim 16:4152

Based on these verses and sayings, some Muslim majority nations enforce apostasy laws with severe penalties (including death).  There simply cannot be a debate on this. This barbaric law has to go.

Another aspect on similar lines which includes non Muslims too is Blasphemy. Here for criticizing the Quran or Prophet Mohammed, the penalty is severe (in many cases is death). This is another draconian law which has no place in a civilized society whose foundation is based on freedom of speech. A well known case on this was the Salman Taseer murder. Taseer was a secular statesman who was against the Pakistani Blasphemy Law. As expected, the terrorists later killed him for it, claiming that he was the enemy of Islam. What’s most surprising is how explicitly some verses in The Quran talk against the concept of Blasphemy and despite this, the Islamists fight for this inhuman law.


"And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: "to us our deeds and to you yours; peace be to you." [The Quran 28: 55]

"And the servants of Allah . . . are those who walked on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say 'Peace'" [The Quran 25:63]

"Allah is with those who restrain themselves." [The Quran 16: 128]

"The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto: but if a person forgets and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah." [The Quran 62:40]


Jihad and Martyrdom

There are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle. The "greater jihad" is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties. Muslim jurists explained there are four kinds of jihad fi sabilillah (struggle in the cause of God):
•      Jihad of the heart (jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combating the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of Jihad was regarded as the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar).
•      Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue.
•      Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action.
•      Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war), the most common usage by Salafi Muslims and Islamists.

 Some contemporary Islamists have succeeded in replacing the greater jihad, the fight against desires, with the lesser jihad, the holy war to establish, defend and extend the Islamic state. Media has coined a term for these extremists - “Jihadis”, which is appropriate given the current scenario of Jihadi terrorism. Jihadis are the biggest security threat to the world. From Saudi Arabia to Chechnya, they have set up camps in most nations. Their brutalities and their operating mechanisms (suicide bombings, IEDs etc) are well known. It should be obvious to everyone what their next target is: acquiring Nuclear weapons. One may wonder what the scriptures say about this menace of violent Jihad. After all, they are motivated by the verses of the Quran, right?

One view:

According to the Qur’an, killing any person without a just cause is as big a sin as killing the whole humanity and saving the life of one person is as good deed as saving the whole humanity. (The Quran:  Al-Ma’idah: 32)

Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” (The Quran- Al-An`am: 151)

The Quran even demands the safety of non-believer.

"And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of God, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. "(The Qur’an 9:6)

Several other verses in the Quran which talk about fighting with the enemy (which may not necessarily by perceived as non- Muslims only). What’s most important to recognize is “Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged... (The Quran 22:39-41)”

"Fight in the cause of God those WHO FIGHT YOU, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Quran, 2:190)"

"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Quran, 8:61)"

"If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. (The Quran, 5:28)"

"God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly
with those WHO HAVE NOT FOUGHT WITH YOU about religion and HAVE NOT DRIVEN YOU OUT OF YOUR HOMES. God loves just dealers. (The Quran, 60:8)"

"And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. (The Quran 2:193)"

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error…. (The Quran, 2:256)"

"Say, 'The truth is from your Lord': Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it):......(The Quran, 18:29)"

"If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then COMPEL mankind, against their will, to believe! (The Quran, 10:99)"

"Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (The
Quran, 109:1-6)"

Another view:

“Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. “ (The Quran - 2:190-195;  2:216-218; 2:244)

“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free”.... (The Quran -9:5)


“Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!”  (The Quran - 9:29,30)

“O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.” (The Quran 9:73)

“O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).” ( The Quran 9:123)

You can clearly see which point of view the Jihadis are inspired by. I am no scholar to interpret these verses in actuality. My concern is against the literal interpretation of them. If even half of the world Muslim population took this literally, there would be Armageddon. I urge every Muslim to reject this flawed doctrine of violent Jihad (regardless of what the Mullahs want you to believe) and must dissociate with all Jihadi sympathizers.

As far as the concept of Matrydom (specifically- Jihadi suicide bombers) is concerned, the notion itself is so absurd, I wouldn’t waste much time going over it. In most cases you can clearly see that the bombers are brainwashed and desperately need psychiatric help. In a recent interview of a famous Neuroscientist, it was revealed that Religious Fundamentalism can be characterized as a mental illness. Whatever it maybe, this bogus/deranged concept of “Holy Martyrdom” must be discarded from the minds of every individual.


Homosexuality and adultery

Homosexuality is a grave sin in Islam. It is considered an abomination in every Islamic school of thought. For eg:  In the Hanafi school of thought, the homosexual is first punished through harsh beating, and if he/she repeats the act, the death penalty is to be applied. The Quranic rendition links the destruction of Sodom specifically to the homosexual activities of its inhabitants (the people of Lut). In Shariah courts for the transgression to be proven, at least four men or eight women must bear witness against the accused, which in a way makes it difficult to persecute those who did not remain celibate in their homes. This view of homosexuality stems from the belief that it is a mental disorder or a sign of depraved character.

Science has proven that homosexuality is a completely natural thing. It is found in almost all mammals. The homosexuals don’t fake their sexual orientation to piss off the religious folks. They are born with it. The argument conservatives make is that it is against the natural order or it would be disastrous for human relationships and would make everyone immoral. But that’s another debate. Because of the latest scientific revelations, I urge fellow Muslims to rethink on homosexuality and have a liberal approach towards this sensitive issue. We can start by scrapping these ludicrous penalties imposed on Gays.

Adultery is another major sin in Islam. In some cases of Sharia Law, women were stoned to death for committing adultery. Young girls were killed by their parents to save the family honor.  Below are some verses quoted from the Holy Quran-

“The woman and the man guilty of unlawful sex (adultery or fornication), flog each of them with a hundred stripes; let not compassion move you in their case in a matter prescribed by Allah if ye believe in Allah and the Last day; and let a party of the believers witness their punishment”. (The Quran 24:2)

 “As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them or (until) Allah appoint for them a way (through new legislation)” (The Quran 4:15)

“And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way” (The Quran, Al-Isra’ 17: 32)

Adultery is considered a sin/reprehensible almost everywhere. But nowhere are the adulterers flogged or stoned to death except Islamic states. Clearly this barbaric form of punishment has no place in a civilized society. The Muslim society must explore a non violent and yet fair alternative to this. For eg: The culprit can be deprived financially or custody of the children etc…

Slavery, concept of blood money and Kafir/Kufr/Infidels

In the civilized world, Slavery has been abolished. But some sections of Muslim society still believe in it. Sharia Law and its advocates like Zakir Naik claim it is lawful for male masters to have sexual relations with female captives and slaves. Slaves were offered as part of the booty and made captives during the wars in Pre Islamic Arabia. Prophet Mohammed ordered Muslims to treat slaves with kindness and make efforts grant freedom to as many as possible.

Surah At-Tawbah (9:60) from The Quran specifies that Zakat is to be used for freeing slaves and bonded labourers. Muslims must regard slavery as an evil and show zero tolerance towards anyone who tries to legitimize it.

The Islamic states also have a concept of “Diyya”-
Financial compensation paid to the heirs of a victim. In Arabic, the word means both blood money and ransom. The reason I chose to bring up this issue is because some devilish/evil/rotten decisions have been passed off by the Sharia courts as Islamic judgments. Recently, a cleric raped his 5 year old daughter and killed her. He was let off by the Sharia Court and agreed to pay the blood money. This is worse than some of the racial laws legislated by the Nazis. Clearly we need a overhaul in this aspect.

There has been a lot of debate on certain terms like Kafir and Kufr nowadays. The Islamists use these words to addresses all non Muslims. Let’s see it from an Islamic perspective:  Kafir is the one who after knowing Islam rejects it. Whereas a non Muslim could be anyone who has neither studied Islam nor has made a conscious decision of rejecting it as is also evident from the following verses:

"Those who disbelieve among the people of the book and among the polytheists…”  (The Quran, 98:6).

“And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allah, any other ilah (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kafirun (the disbelievers in Allah and in the Oneness of Allah, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful.”  (The Quran, 23:117)



Kufr is an act and not just a label for all non-Muslims. It is they who should neither be taken as protectors nor as friends, but still must be treated justly and with politeness. Prophet Mohammed used to keep good relations with non-Muslims, keep their trusts, eat their food and visit them when they were sick.

What is forbidden for Muslims is the relationship of wilayah with Kafirs (who knowingly reject Islam). Hence we see this hostility towards people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie etc… Even relatively moderate Muslims despise them for various reasons. In Islamic states, Kafirs would be rewarded the death penalty. Nowadays, the Islamists have started attacking even the non-Muslims who criticize Islam. From writers who wanted to translate/publish the Satanic Verses to Dutch Film maker Van Gogh were killed brutally by these terrorists. The most disturbing fact we've found from all aspects discussed above is the harshness/severity of the penalties involved. These are medieval and inhuman in nature and they cannot be relevant in the modern world. This is precisely what I want my fellow Muslims to realize and condemn in the most effective way possible.

Reformation

Reformation in Islam has been discussed and debated for centuries. In the modern times, advocates of international human rights standards such as Abdolkarim Soroush, Asghar Ali Engineer and Khaled Abou El-Fadl – attempted to develop Islamic support for human rights through a critical examination of Sharia and calls for ijtihad (independent juridical reasoning) and reinterpretation of the Quran and Sunna of the Prophet (Hadith).The conflict with the interpretation comes in cases like -  you can find verses of the Quran that support modern human rights principles like freedom of religion and equality for women. But one can equally quote verses that seem to support the opposing view.

This is the real issue we face. It makes it crucial to establish a consistent framework of interpretation and not simply the availability of texts of Quran that can be understood one way or another. How do we begin? First, Muslims and other believers should be able to propose policy and legislative initiatives emanating from their religious beliefs, provided they can support them in free and open debate by giving reasons that are accessible, transparent and convincing to the generality of citizens, regardless of their religion or other beliefs. If it’s a Muslim majority nation, the state action must conform to basic democratic, constitutional and human rights safeguards to protect all it’s citizens against the tyranny of the majority.

The reason why counties like Saudi Arabia and Iran are flawed theocracies is because they fail to realize that Sharia can only be freely observed by believers, and its principles lose their religious authority and value when enforced by the state. Religion requires free reflection and choice by believers among equally accessible competing interpretations and religious authorities, independently from coercive authority of the state. It’s absurd to present state law as a divine command. For instance- The Quran has three different levels of understanding: the literal/metaphorical, the metaphysical, and then a level which almost no human can grasp/perceive. People who issue insubstantial Fatwas or nonsensical diktats in God’s name should realize this and be severely reprimanded for playing God.

The forward march

Any adherence to the explicit or literal sense of a given doctrine is unacceptable. Unfortunately today, a large section of Muslims are in a state of cognitive dissonance. This is an unnerving sign because it makes them unpredictable. They must realize that everyone is gifted with the ability to reason. It is within our capacity to consciously make sense of things, apply logic, establish/verify facts, change /justify practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. Here again, one comes in conflict with discursive and intuitive reasoning. A simple way of avoiding such a case is to estimate the causality of one’s action through a relativistic approach (with respect to another individual. The action-consequence principle). One of the ways of reasoning is the Scientific method.  The steps to follow it are:
o     Ask a Question
o     Do Background Research
o     Construct a Hypothesis
o     Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
o     Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
o     Communicate Your Results

This still doesn't attend to a man’s thirst for spiritual guidance. The answers to questions which are beyond Human cognition. The origin of consciousness, meaning of life, concept of soul, the presence of a conscience (Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong ) etc…The questions vary for each individual, hence making religion something which is very personal, between you and your creator. One simply should not impose his views on others as it violates the inalienable right to individuality. I believe Prophet Mohammed and the scientists who immortalized the Golden age of Islam understood this. One must only stop asking himself questions after he dies. It is only through doubt Mankind has progressed and will continue to do so. I urge all Muslims to take up the tools of science and build on the framework of their doubts inorder to make your life meaningful and satisfy your conscience by helping your fellow human beings.

“That man can have nothing but what he strives for; That the fruit of his striving will soon come in sight: Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete.”
(The Quran 53:39-41)


“Caliph Umar (RA) one day came into the mosque of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and found two young people. He asked them:
“What do you do?” They said “We only worship Allah Almighty.” Umar said to them “No, no, where do you work?” They said, “We don’t work. We are righteous people who just make Zikr (remembrance) of Allah. We are, alhamdullilah, from those people whom Allah chose to be close to Him.”
Then Umar said to them “Wait one minute,” and came back with a stick and began hitting them, and said, “Go work somewhere. Go find a job”. source

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Top 10 Playback Singers of India

Here's my list of the top 10 playback singers of India. Some of the selections may seem undeserving (to a few people) but, it was with great effort and devotion I managed to rank these legends. However one's subjectivity or "bias" in such selections is inevitable and I tried my best to keep any personal feelings out of it. I'm a novice when it comes to analyzing the music industry but, I'm posting this list to show my appreciation to these Gods of Music. One must understand that the difference between each singer on the list is very minuscule. In my opinion versatility and voice quality matter most. whoever deserved to make the list had these qualities better than anyone else. Hope I was up to the task!

Rank 10-     SONU NIGAM
He's widely regarded as one of the most versatile singers of India. From his huge range of songs to the mesmerizing ability to perform on stage, he's a complete package. A true entertainer and the modern day ecumenical singer, undoubtedly his awesome talent and voice are exhilarating. 


Sonu Nigam singing "Yeh Dil Deewana" from the movie Pardes.


Some of the best songs he's sung are "Kal Ho Naa Ho", "Sandese Aate Hain", "Panchhi Nadiyaan", "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna", "Main Agar Kahoon", "satrangi re" and the kannada hit "Eenagali Mundhe Saagu".


Rank 9-   KS CHITHRA / P SUSHEELA
KS Chithra is famously known as the Little Nightingale of South India. Her euphonious voice combined with her supreme devotion to music has made her the recipient of 6 national awards(the most by any female singer). From Carnatic music to the modern day tunes, her ability to adapt and perform so consistently with such magnanimity is very rare quality.
Some of her best songs were-the Tamil hit "Padariyen Padippariyen" ,the Malayalam hit "Indupushpam Choodi Nilkum Raathri" , "Payalein Chun Mun" from the Hindi movie Virasat and the Telugu hit "Nuvvostanante".


KS Chitra Singing "Padariyen Padippariyen" which won her a national award 


P Susheela literally dominated the South Indian Music Industry in the 60's and 70's. She is very well known for her mellifluous songs and her sweet soaring voice. She's most famously reputed for the pronunciation of the syllables, which were very clear and precise in any language she has sung in. I was particularly impressed with her duets with the legendary singer Ghantasala and PB Srinivas and her combo with Illayaraja was a treat even for the Gods!
Some of her best songs were- the Telugu hits "Jhummandi Naadham Sayyandi Paadam", "Yentha Peethovaade Gopaludu Venugopaludu", "Kalyanini Kanulunna Manusuku Kanipinchu" and the Tamil hits 
"Paal Polave Vaan Meedhile"  and "Magane Magane Kannurangu".


 P Susheela sings "Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram"


Rank 8- JAGJIT SINGH
The undisputed king of Ghazals. In my personal opinion, he should be in the top 5! The choice of poetry for his songs and his soothing ethereal baritone could even heal people from depression or misery. His songs provide a sense of relief, hope, joy, love and despair to his listeners....almost indistinguishable from a part of their lives. There never was and probably never will be a Ghazal singer like him. From Devotional to Classical, his repertoire is full of harmonizing tunes which could numb down even the most stone hearted men. His pairing with Gulzar for Mirza Ghalib will forever remain in my heart as the greatest performance I've ever witnessed.


Some of his most famous Ghazals/Songs are- "Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar", "Koi Yeh Kaise Bataye", "Ab to Ghabraake yeh kehte hain", "Chhitti Na Koi Sandesh", "Hosh Walon Ko", "Koi Fariyaad" and "Shaam se aankh mein nami si hai" .


Jagjit Singh singing "HAATH CHHUTE BHI TO RISHTEY" from Gulzar's album "Marasim"

Rank 7- MANNA DEY
He's rated as the best classical singer among all singers of Hindi Film music. He's incredibly talented and capable of singing any type of song. His deep understanding of music and an enormous skill set of Raagas and Sur makes him a heavyweight in the Indian Music Industry. His golden voice includes a pluralistic range of actors from Ashok Kumar to Amitabh Bachchan. The epitome of consistency and classical fervor!

Some of his famous songs are- "Jeevan se Lambe hain Bandhu", "Tere naina talaash karein", "Tum bin jeevan kaisa", "Ek chatur naar badi hoshiyaar" and "Ke Prothom Kachhe Esechi" a bengali duet with Lata Mangeshkar.


Rank 6- KISHORE KUMAR
I know for sure his fans are thinking "what's this Idiot blogger doing by ranking this legend at number 6?". Unfortunately folks, it was a very tough decision I had to make. If there ever was anyone more versatile in singing than Kishore, I have never heard of him :) From a talented actor to a staggeringly gifted singer, he could have filled any shoes with ease and perfection. Although he struggled initially during his music career, he remained a one man show from the 70's till the day he died. This I guarantee, atleast in my generation you'll never see a person who's half as talented as Kishoreda was!


Some of his famous songs are- "Mere mehboob qayamat hogi", "Zindagi ka safar", "Kehna hai aaj tumse yeh", "aa chal ke tujhe main leke chaloon", "Manzilen apni jagah hai", "Chingari koi Bhadkey" and "Yaadon ki Baarat".

Kishore singing "Kuch toh log Kahenge" in Amar Prem

Rank 5- Ghantasala
For nearly a quarter of a century, he was the voice of Telugu films. He composed for more than 100 movies and also sang the entire Bhagavad Gita. His supremacy in Carnatic vocal music is unquestionable. You could say that he was like a priest (saadhu in a Temple) singing to God and his majestic voice expressing all the emotions one can experience. Even if you are incapable of understanding the language he sang in, his voice explained everything. From the incredible modulation in his tones to an unparalleled voice with a wide range of pitch, he was a rare gem who could unleash a storm of emotions with utmost ease.


Some of his famous songs are "Akasha Veedhilo", "Manishi Maaraledu ", "Kolo Koloyanna" and "Rangula Ratnam"


Ghantasala in his divine voice sings "Seshasaila Vasa Sri Venkatesa"

Rank 4- S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
He's a colossus in the Indian Music Industry. Padma Bushan, innumerable state felicitations and national awards plus singing more than 40000 songs...Woah! . His superhuman ability to produce quality songs has never been heard of. His longevity,the perfectly timed intonations in his voice and immaculate consistency... makes him a role model for the generations to come. An almost indispensable part of the industry, his immense contribution to music deservedly put him in the Top 5 singers of India.


Some of his best songs are "Hum bane tum bane ek dujey ke liye", "Oh Nenje neethan", "Sangeedha Megam", "Kathalin Deepam" and "Adi Netriravu Natanthathenna"


SP Balu singing "Roja Janeman"

Rank 3- YESUDAS
He's is fondly called Gana Gandharvan or The Celestial Singer. 50000+ songs, more national/state awards than any other Indian singer....Frankly, there's no record left in this country for him to break. The former Music composer Ravindra Jain(who was blind) once said that he almost regained his vision after hearing Yesudas sing. The element of spiritualism is evident in most of his songs...I have to admit that he takes the listener into another realm of existence with his soulful voice. Even the spirit of a man can associate with his melodious message and sway to his transcendental tunes. In my opinion, he's the best male singer alive today.


Some of his famous songs are "teri tasveer ko seene se laga", "Madhuban khushbu deta hai", "Unnikale Oru Katha Parayaam", "Aa Divya Naamam"...the list is endless!


Rank 2- ASHA BHOSLE
She's the most recorded artist in music history. In my opinion, she's the most versatile female singer of all time. From Pop music to Qawwalis, her voice control is extraordinary. Her mellifluous overtones blend with the cadences of music as though they were born to be there. She could sing an item number in the most sensuous voice and at the same time, she could plunge you into introspection by singing a tragic note. Her combo with OP Nayyar and RD Burman has made a shattering impact in the music world. When you thought, she was only meant for western music, she came with melodies of the most deeply impacting Indian Classics....The Rabindra sangeet. She's a maestro in all fields of music!


Some of her best songs "Katra katra milti hai", "Ab ke baras bhej bhaiyya", "Yeh jya jagah hai doston", "Piya tuh ab toh aaja", "Doh lahfzon ki hai dil ki kahani"...and so flows the tide of sublime music.


Asha Bhosle sings "Dil cheez kya aap meri jaan lijiye" in Umrao jaan


Rank 1 is a Tie between---> Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
According to most music artists in India, Rafi is the best singer of the millennium. The joy you feel when he sang for Shammi Kapoor was intoxicating and the tragedy he expressed while singing for Dilip Kumar made one feel the texture of anguish and misery. Yesudas, SP. Balu and many other greats regard him as their Guru or the ultimate singer. I'm personally very moved by his tragic songs... the excruciating pain, the heart wrenching agony and the absurdity of our mortal lives..is plainly felt through his radiant god like voice. Most of the older generation of actors and music directors have orbited their career around Rafi. Undoubtedly he's the greatest thing has happened to the Indian Music Industry!


Some of his best songs are "Chahunga main tujhe saanjh savere ", "Main yeh sochkar uske", "Barbaade mohabbat ki dua", "Kya huva tera waada", "Yeh mera prem patra padh kar"....and everything else he's sung!


Rafi at his best in Chitralekha.."Mann re tu kahe na"


Lata Mangeshkar- Bharat Ratna, Nightingale of India, Goddess of music etc...I can go on and write a book! anyone who's heard her divine soaring voice is most likely to remember it till the day he dies. If there's anyone who can truly say that's he/she's got a God gifted talent, that's Lata. It's fair to say, Lata's true potential was realized when she worked with Madan Mohan. The songs composed by this team are beyond endurance for a mortal heart. There's nothing more to add about her..because the world already knows what she truly is.....God's boon to Music!


Some of her best songs are "Aaj socha toh aansoo bhar aaye", "Raina beet jaye", " Woh bhooli dastan", "Aap ki nazron ne samjha"...and everything else she's sung!


Lata singing "Lagja galey ki phir yeh hasin raat"