Reflections / 25.04.2009

With Reflections we begin a new series on The South Asian Idea in which contributors share their thoughts on their own evolution. How did they become what they are and what were the ideas or books or people or places or incidents that moved them, surprised them, gave shape to their lives, or sent them on completely unexpected trajectories?

On The South Asian Idea we believe that ideas matter. Naturally. But disembodied ideas can become too dry and cerebral. We also need to know where ideas come from, how they find their way into the mind, and how they get to capture the imagination.

And how do we try and communicate our ideas to others? Or do we? And should we? And how do we deal with situations where ideas clash?

Ghalib / 25.10.2008

This week we use a popular she’r by Ghalib to explore some ideas about paradise: ham ko ma’luum hai jannat kii haqiiqat lekin dil ke khush rakhne ko Ghalib yih khayaal achchhaa hai we know the reality of Paradise, but to keep the heart happy, Ghalib, this idea is good  The tension in the verse is created by the play between haqiiqat and khayaal, between reality and imagination. The fundamental question being asked is: What is Paradise? One can think of paradise as a home – one of the possible homes after death. Just as the feeling of being without a home on earth can be very unsettling, the thought of being without one after death could be equally so. Thus it is not a surprise that it could be comforting to imagine a home after death. Is paradise then an imagined reality? Or is it a reality? When Ghalib says, “we know the...