Reflections / 11.09.2009

By Anjum Altaf We have short memories. Terror did not arrive in America in 2001 when Mohamed Atta flew a plane into the World Trade Center. It did not arrive even in 1993, when Ramzi Yousef planned to blow up that very same bastion of American power. It arrived almost a hundred years ago when, after a spate of bombings in New York City, the abode of J.P. Morgan - then the symbol of American capitalism -  was wired up with explosives. The protagonist was not a Muslim, but a black Christian man. It was neither his blackness nor his Christianity that made him do it – he could just as easily have been white, or any other color or religion. His principal munitions expert was as white as one could be. And nor was he was poor. Indeed he was quite well off: in those days he was the proud...

Music / 21.08.2009

By Anjum Altaf  In the second post in this series I had proposed looking at the organization of music to see what it revealed about the organization of society. This enquiry was motivated by the very stark differences in the organization of classical music in the Western and Hindustani traditions that are immediately obvious on attending concerts in the two traditions. I am going to rely almost entirely on the description provided by Yehudi Menuhin in his autobiography Unfinished Journey (Chapter 12) because being a musician he has a deep insight into the subject. Later I will come back to the issues that Menuhin does not address.
Music / 02.08.2009

By Anjum Altaf I call architecture frozen music – Goethe I stumbled upon this quote as a teenager and fell in love with it without understanding it at all, a phenomenon not uncommon as I learnt later when I fell in love with a human being - loving and hating comes so much easier than understanding. The quote stayed with me for years – stuck in diaries, propped up on desks, hanging from walls, scribbled in notes to people I loved but did not understand – without yielding its mystery. The only thing I can claim credit for is that I did not stop searching for an answer.